After a 21-month struggle to win respect for their rights, members of the Mercedes-Benz Montréal-Est dealership unit of Unifor Local 4511 finally emerged from the first contract arbitration process with their first collective agreement.
The new contract, which came into effect on December 1, offers substantial wage increases starting in the first year of up to $9 per hour for some workers and an increase of 2.5% the second year. Additional gains include 50:50 sharing of group insurance premiums by members and the employer, an extra vacation day, a phased retirement plan and a night-shift premium, where applicable. Employees are also now eligible for four sick days and two floating holidays.
Despite the employer’s arguments to the contrary, the arbitrator Claire Brassard maintained all the clauses that are standard in the collective agreements negotiated by Unifor Local 4511 in the auto sector.
“Without the support of the Unifor family for this group of workers throughout what was a tough battle, the outcome would no doubt have been much different,” said Quebec Director Renaud Gagné.